Joshua Chisa Mbele defends his Facebook posts in court – Malawi 24
Activist Joshua Chisa Mbele today in court defended his Facebook posts including one in which he wrote “voting out DPP is like jumping urine just to end up stepping on faeces” and another in which he described the National Intelligence Services (NIS) as useless.
The state wants Mbele to be re-arrested saying he used “un-Malawian” language which may have offended some quarters of the public thus breaching his bail conditions.
Mbele was arrested in January this year and when he was granted bail one of the conditions was that he should not infringe on rights of other people or make hate speech through his Facebook posts.
State witness Snr Superintendent Henry Kalungu, a police officer, said Mbele recently posted that removing the Democratic Progressive Party administration was like jumping over urine just to end up stepping on faeces.
He added that Mbele also made another post in which he said the NIS is useless because it did not know that corruption suspect Zuneth Sattar was in Malawi in March. According to Kalungu, Mbele also called for a period of rage until the Tonse government collapses. The posts were later deleted.
He argued that Mbele’s posts infringed on Malawians’ rights, did not respect the modesty of a woman and incited rage.
But Mbele in cross-examination defended his posts saying he was using language which is used on daily basis and his phrase containing feaces was only talking about the hardships Malawians are going through.
He further argued that the NIS failed its job by not getting any intelligence on Sattar travel into Malawi.
Mbele’s lawyer Gilbert Khonyongwa argued in submission that Mbele’s Facebook posts did not infringe on rights of Malawians, were not directed to any particular individual and that their content did not degrade morals of an individual.
He further argued that the state only wants to stop Malawians from expressing their views on issues such as corruption.
“The State should be thanking Mbele for his vigorous spirit to fight corruption in Malawi” said Khonyongwa.
He also argued that the state Khonyongwa believes the claims being made by state on reasons why Mbele must have his bail revoked are not representing Malawians.
Khonyongwa asked the court to dismiss the state’s application saying the police prosecutor and the police investigator are the only people offended by Mbele’s posts.
On his part, police prosecutor Levison Mangani argued that Mbele used obscene and unacceptable words and his posts reach a lot of people.
He further argued that Mbele deleted posts which could indicate that they were problematic. He asked the court to revoke the activist’s bail.
Senior Resident Magistrate Wanangwa Nyirenda is expected to make a ruling on the matter 21 June.
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